|First medal ever!!|
Two weeks after that, I ran yet another distance PR of 15.5 miles! What the what? I know, a lot of people training for a half-marathon only train up to about 10-12 miles but I needed to know I could go the distance again. This second run was far better than the first. In fact I was only supposed to run 14 miles but felt so great that I decided to add the extra 1.5. It was a huge victory, both physically and mentally. Then, the taper began.
The following Saturday my training group had a 6 mile run planned, with an optional magic mile. For those who don't know, a magic mile is run at a harder-than-normal pace and is then used to determine your race pace goals. The last time we did a magic mile was a few months ago, so I was excited to do another. My training buddy J and I took off running together but I instantly felt it was a pace way faster than was comfortable for me.
Typically when doing my magic mile, I run the first half conservatively and then finish strong. This time, we had barely reached the 1/4 mile marker when I knew I was in trouble. In between gasping for air, I muttered that the pace was too fast. J knew I was having a tough time and suggested we slow down but I was afraid if I lost my momentum I'd stop completely. I kept telling myself to just keep going, that it would be over in a mile, and so I continued to push myself past the point of comfort. I could hardly speak but J kept talking to me.
J: "Did I mention I used to be a miler in high school?"
Me: "...I meant that with love."
J: "I felt it with love."
Once we passed the 3/4 mile mark, I was over it. I begged J to tell me as soon as the 1 mile sign was in sight and I just kept moving my feet as fast as I could. Our pace had slowed down because I was gassed and when we crossed the 1-mile mark I stopped my watch and looked down... 10:44. The EXACT same time I had run 3 months ago. I burst into tears.
J watched me unravel and asked why I was upset. I explained that I had run the same time 3 months ago and that I should have improved my time by now and that I was disappointed. She told me I was being too hard on myself and that I should think about how far I have come with my running and my weight loss. I know I have come leaps and bounds and am extremely proud of my progress. I guess that's why I was so frustrated with the lack of progress I had made in regard to my speed.
The very next day, a group of us met up for a 5 mile road race. I was excited to beat my previous 5-mile time and also to run with about 6 other ladies from my training group. When we crossed the start line, the pace felt fast but I stuck with it. By mile 3, some of the girls had dropped off and I was really feeling the hills on the course. When we saw the 5-mile sign, we began sprinting to the finish... only to find that the finish line was around the corner and down the block. I gave everything I had left and we crossed the finish line just under 1:05:00... 3 minutes SLOWER than my previous time.
Again, I was heartbroken. I felt like something was wrong with me, that I had somehow after all my training ended up even less-prepared than before. I started to doubt myself and my training; the thought of my half-marathon brought me fear instead of excitement. I was not in a good place.
|First "official" race medal - Ramblin' Rose 5-miler|
The following weekend, a few of us skipped our training run in favor of Color Me Rad. That fun run was exactly what I needed to loosen up a bit after some stressful training runs. Color Me Rad was a big party, with runners (& walkers) asked to wear a white t-shirt. Throughout the 5K, there are color-bomb stations where volunteers spray you with liquid color or toss colorful powder all over you. We laughed and screamed and overall had a great time. I am grateful for that experience.
Since we had skipped an 8-mile training run in favor of the 5k, I decided to train the 8 miles alone on Sunday. It was a cold and very windy day thanks to Hurricane Sandy, but I went out anyway. I mapped myself an 8 mile route and ran my own speed, with no pressures to keep up with anyone else. When I got back to my house, I felt amazing.
When I looked at my stats, I was beyond thrilled. Despite the hills, despite running into the wind for 75% of my run, despite all of the negative thoughts swimming in my mind for weeks, I ran the fastest 8 miles of my life. They were also the most consistent, according to my splits. Finally, I felt confident and ready to tackle the one goal I've been looking forward to completing all year.
|My race day outfit! Yes, I made them put BANG on my bib!|
We talk so often about achieving PRs or weight loss goals, but what happens when we miss the mark? How do you deal with the disappointment of an unexpected outcome?